December 15, 2004

Me and Jack

There’s a fascinating piece by Andrew Ferguson in this week’s Weekly Standard about the fall of powerful Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff- who is, improbably for a top Republican, both a graduate of Brandeis and a former movie producer, with credits ranging from “Red Scorpion” to “Red Scorpion 2.”

The piece details Abramoff’s alleged bilking of millions in fees from several Indian tribes, who hired the lobbyist and cohort Michael Scanlon to lobby on behalf of their casino interests. But the Standard story contains all sort of great little details, including that Abramoff and Grover Norquist once took over the national leadership of the College Republicans and turned it into “a right-wing version of a communist cell--complete with purges of in-house dissenters.” That Abramoff once organized a conference in Africa that had as a feature speaker Angolan rebel and “Maoist cannibal” Jonas Savimbi. And that Abramoff and Scanlon allegedly funneled money through a “think tank” which was really nothing more than a house on a beach in Delaware.

Makes me think I should start a think tank myself- all you really have to do is raise money, and come up with the occasional position paper. Strange seeing this piece in the arch-conservative Standard, although the conclusion seems to be that Abramoff and Co. have betrayed the principles of the Gingrich revolution.

Abramoff, for what it’s worth, was named last year to the Forward’s list of the 50 most influential American Jews for 2003. He did not make this year’s version, but Madonna did.

Posted by Stephen Silver at December 15, 2004 04:52 AM

the badonkadonk institute

Posted by: LilB at December 15, 2004 01:20 PM

Abramoff...interesting figure to say the least, especially with what I'd always heard about him

Though the "antics" and other extravagent things he undertook while head of the CRs for example...wonder where he learned those from?

Posted by: jaws at December 16, 2004 11:55 AM
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